Los Angeles Angels catcher Jason Castro was originally set to bat eighth in their lineup on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners in Anaheim. Just before the line-ups were exchanged at home plate, Joe Maddon scratched the veteran and replaced him with Anthony Bemboom.
Reports emerged from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in the following hour that the San Diego Padres have acquired the former All-Star catcher from the Angels. The Angels’ return in the transaction has yet to be announced but there does appear to be a deal completed.
Padres acquiring catcher Jason Castro from Angels, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 30, 2020
The San Diego Padres are currently on track for playoff position in the second-place spot in the National League West with a 20-15 record. They have added pitcher Trevor Rosenthal and first baseman Mitch Moreland this weekend and Castro will provide veteran leadership at the catcher position for the Friars. At the time of the trade, Austin Hedges is hitting only .164 but provides good defense and 24-year-old Luis Torrens is hitting .273 in limited play this year while being a .176 career hitter. Castro immediately provides additional offensive prowess to a San Diego Padres lineup strong on sluggers.
Castro’s veteran leadership may be as valuable to San Diego’s young core featuring catchers Hedges, Torrens, and Francisco Mejia, who is currently on the 10-day injured list with a left thumb contusion. Castro has postseason experience during his career with both Houston and Minnesota but is only hitting .053 (one-for-19) across 21 postseason plate appearances in 2015 and 2017.
Castro was signed by the Angels to a one-year, $6.85 million contract on Jan. 7 and was the Angels’ Opening Day catcher. Castro has been a solid defender behind the plate for the Angels this season but has struggled with a .192/.323/.385 line and only two home runs and six runs batted over 18 games and 62 plate appearances. The Castro Valley native has averaged 17 home runs per 162 games during his 10-year MLB career with the Astros, Twins, and Angels.
Castro’s departure follows the Angels’ Friday evening trade of second baseman Tommy La Stella to the Oakland Athletics. The Angels entered Sunday’s game with a 12-22 record, 10 games behind first-place Oakland and 7.5 games behind second-place Houston for playoff spots. In addition to Castro and La Stella, the Angels have received interest in shortstop Andrelton Simmons and pitcher Dylan Bundy, who remains under team control through next season.
The Angels will now likely go with Anthony Bemboom and Max Stassi, who is eligible to return from the IL on Monday assuming he’s recovered from his right quad strain and knee bruise. Other catching options for the Angels at their alternate training site are Jose Briceno, Jack Kruger, and Taylor Ward.
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